In many instances, having a backup plan is a good thing. Extra batteries for toys or alarms. Jumper cables in the trunk. A sweater and umbrella in the car. Cash in the sock drawer. More than one option for dinner/movie/music if your first choice is too crowded or sold out. But NO ONE wants to BE the backup plan in someone else’s love life.
Most of us have been there. We meet someone and really like them, and at first, we think the feeling is mutual. Then the relationship starts to feel a little lopsided or even unfair and we begin to question if we are over-reacting or if something else is going on. Have we slid into the backup position? How can we tell? And what should we do?
The last question is the easiest to answer. Never, should anyone, allow themselves to be the backup plan. Everyone has the right to determine what type of relationship is good for them, and if someone doesn’t want to be with you or doesn’t return the same affections/intentions, that's just the way it goes. But they should always be honest about it and you need to accept their truth and walk away with your respect and believe there is someone better suited for you down the road. If, however, you discover that you have unwillingly turned into second (or third) choice, you should never feel bad about exiting the ‘relationship’ quickly without looking back.
So, what are the signs that you are not at the top of the priority list?
#1. You do not meet, or rarely, see their family and friends. We typically do not break that inner circle unless there is a fair amount of interest involved. If he talks about hanging with his friends, or a special dinner with the family, and you are not invited to either, then don’t expect too much of a commitment. Also, in this social media age, if they are hesitant to add/follow you, then they are not serious. If she doesn’t add you, she has no intentions of tagging you, and trust me, that is not a good sign.
#2. They do not spend money on you. This is mainly for you girls. Now I know we live in a self-sufficient society, and many of you ladies are ok with paying your own way. But I am here to tell you, that if a guy is truly interested in you, he has no problem reaching into his wallet to pay for dinner, entertainment, or even to help you out with something. If everything is always split down the middle, that is your cue to split the relationship.
#3. They break plans at the last minute. You guys planned 3 dates this past month, but they only showed up for one. A series of unfortunate events seemed to pop up just before the start time for the other two. Of course, things happen, and we are not always able to keep the plans we make, but consistently bailing on someone is disrespectful and an indication that something came along at the last minute that was a little more enticing. And speaking of last minute…
#4. They only make plans with you at the last minute. I have a personal ‘rule’ when it comes to making a date. In most circumstances, I will not agree to go on a date unless they ask me 24-48 hours ahead of time. Don’t call me at noon on Saturday and ask me out for Saturday night. To me that says you were either waiting for a call that never came, or someone else bailed on you. Either way, I am not a consolation prize. Now, I do understand that last minute opportunities pop up, and in those cases, it is perfectly fine to take advantage of them. I am referring to routinely being the last resort.
#5. They don’t return calls or texts. We are all busy in this world, but we all make time for the things (and people) who are important. If he/she never returns your calls or it takes hours to return a text, then something (or someone else) is ahead of you in line. Another level to this is, when they do catch up with you, the topic of the conversation usually centers around sex. This goes for both genders as I am learning more every day. It’s not just the guys out there looking for a quick hook-up. Don’t fall for a sweet line or a pretty face, if all they are offering is a quick booty call.
People have different reasons for attempting to get away with this kind of behavior. Some are already in a relationship, and you are just a side game. Others are just holding out for what they consider a bigger and better prize but want to keep you dangling on the line in the meantime. But two of my favorite life truths come into play here. People will only treat you in ways you allow. AND People make time to do what they truly want. So if you gut is telling you something is wrong, believe it and move on.
We all crave attention, even the sporadic, questionable kind. When we are lonely, or really want to hang out with someone, it is easy to believe they mean it now, or they just need a little more time. Do not fall into the trap of being at someone’s Plan B. Demand more for yourself and more from others.
And if you happen to see this type of behavior in yourself….stop to think a minute about what you are doing. If you do not truly care about moving forward with someone, do not string them along or use them as a last-ditch attempt to keep from being alone. Be honest and let them go and find someone who will truly care about them.
Life is full of plans, diversions and do-overs. That is part of makes it so exciting and wonderful. Just keep in mind what YOUR plans and goals are and never let anyone put ‘Baby in the corner’.
Hope With Abandon